Seventy-seven years ago today the Vimy Memorial was unveiled.
I’ve been reading two really fine books about the Vimy Pilgrimage of late:
‘The Epic of Vimy,’ published by The Legionary: Ottawa, 1936. 223pp. I believe this book was sold by subscription through the Canadian Legion.
‘For Our Old Comrades: The Story & Ephemera of the Vimy Pilgrimage, 1936.’ By Norm Christie & Gary Roncetti. CEF Books, 2011. 106pp.
There are some marvelous stories in each of these books; as an runaway collector of all things Canadian, literary or interesting, I particularly appreciate the dozens of photos detailing the artifacts of the Vimy Pilgrimage in Christie & Roncetti’s book. It’s available from CEF Books official Amazon page here.
To put the scope of the Vimy Pilgrimage in context, consider this: there were 6,200 Canadians that made the trip back to Vimy in 1936 for the unveiling. The Olympic Games in Berlin opened six days later and hosted just fewer than 4,000 athletes.
Below I’ve scanned both some well known and not so well known photos from The Epic of Vimy. Click for higher resolution.
Image taken from ‘The Epic of Vimy’ (1936), page 64. One can see the buses full of pilgrims in the background.
Image taken from ‘The Epic of Vimy’ (1936), page 66. Awaiting the arrival of the King.
Image taken from ‘The Epic of Vimy’ (1936), page 71. His Majesty inspecting the Canadian Naval Guard of Honour.
Image taken from ‘The Epic of Vimy’ (1936), page 72. Inspecting the Veterans Guard of Honour. The chap to the left of the King is Major Milton F. Gregg, VC, MC.
Image taken from ‘The Epic of Vimy’ (1936), page 89. French & British airmen fly over the monument before the unveiling.